Navy Base To Test Ground Water

Navy Base To Test Ground Water
Posted on 07/17/2019
Newspaper photoOn July 11, at the request of the Naval Support Activity base commander, Al Bienstock (Hampden Board president) and John V. Thomas (Board vice president, and Sewer/Stormwater Authority chairman) met with a Navy team concerning “a future off base Ground Water Sampling program.” We learned that there is concern about the potential spread of certain chemicals in a type of foam used by the Navy (and other) firefighters associated with military installations around the country. The Navy proposes to initially perform water testing in private wells in a roughly one mile radius area surrounding the Base, to determine the extent of possible infiltration of certain substances in the water.
 
The Navy is hosting a meeting on July 31 (see below for details) to advise the public about the situation, and their request for permission by individuals to the Navy testing their wells. They are directly contacting those within a one mile radius of the Base - the initial test area. They have indicated that if any wells are affected, they will provide other sources of potable (generally bottled) water until such time as more permanent corrections can be made.
 
Following the July 11 meeting, Hampden commissioners have done research on their own, and taken certain preliminary actions:
 
1. Discussed the issue with senior staff at the Penna. Department of Environmental Protection. Following notifications by the Navy to federal and state legislators, Governor Wolf, the secretary of DEP, county elected officials, and others around the Commonwealth, the governor created a task force (within the past month) to assess the issue, determine the extent of any potential problems, and address any necessary actions. We were advised that the chemical substance is used in a host of consumer and other products, and has been for decades. We were also told that information about geologic conditions is being researched to determine the direction of any water flow from the Navy base to make sure that all potentially affected areas are tested.
 
2. We have requested meetings with both PA American Water and Suez Water to review the matter with them. One issue to be discussed is how they might supply water for the long term to supplant any temporary bottled water solution if that becomes necessary.

3. Discussed the matter with the Hampden Township Volunteer Fire Company chief to determine whether comparable products are, or have been, used in fire suppression. The initial indication is that they were not, but that it will be more carefully researched (especially since other local fire companies have mutual aid agreements with Hampden’s to sometimes fight fires in each other’s areas).
 
The Navy is contacting property owners within a radius of about one mile of the Base to advise them of the July 31 meeting. Hampden Board members and staff will be in attendance, along with DEP representatives, and others. The information provided at that meeting is expected to address potential health risks, the areas for initial, and potentially further, well testing, and how any adverse conditions will be addressed.
 
The Navy advises that there are no concerns for residents serviced by public drinking water systems (PA American Water or Suez Water Company). The possible concerns are for residents or property owners who use private wells as sources for their drinking water.  Residents and visitors are advised that all Township facilities, parks and the pool are serviced with public drinking water systems by PA American Water or Suez Water Company and not a well.
 
The Navy has additional information posted on their website at: https://go.usa.gov/xmM9q 
 
As more information becomes available, it will be shared with you.
The scheduled informational meeting will be at the Park Inn (5401 Carlisle Pike); July 31, 2019. The Navy advises that residents and property owners may stop in any time between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Subject matter experts will be on hand to present information and to assist with any questions you may have.
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